VH-AJM  Heston Phoenix                                              (c/n   1/2)


                                  Only six Heston Phoenix aircraft were built in England between 1936 and 1938.   VH-AJM
                                  was the second of them and was exported directly from the factory, and registered in May of
                                  1936.  Theoretically it should have been registered somewhere in the VH-UU- series, but
                                  received dispensation for the 'special' rego -AJM.   Aviation Historian Tim Kalina provides
                                  the following facts:
                                  VH-AJM was owned by the famous Australian aviator Jimmy Melrose (hence the out-of-
                                  sequence -AJM).   The name 'Billing' on the aircraft was his mother's maiden name. (She
                                  was Hilda Westley Billing before her marriage to James Melrose.)   Jimmy's mother purch-
                                  ased all his aircraft and he named them after her.   Melrose had two earlier aircraft before
                                  the Phoenix.  A Puss Moth named 'Hildegarde' in which he flew solo in the 1934 Centenary
                                  Race and a Percival Gull Four named 'Westley' which he flew from England to Australia.                                
                                  On this latter flight he was passed in the air by Kingsford Smith in the Lockheed Altair 'Lady
                                  Southern Cross' making Melrose the last person to have seen the the Altair.   Anyway, the
                                  Phoenix was also flown solo from England to Australia after it had been purchased new,
                                  departing Lympne on 9 April 1936 and arriving in Adelaide on the 25th of April.  Melrose
                                  intended to start a charter business with it, but sadly lost his life when the aircraft suffered a
                                  structural failure and crashed near Melton, Victoria on 5 July 1936 shortly after departing
                                  Essendon.   A privately published book entitled 'The Jimmy Melrose Srory' by Eric Gunton
                                  (1990) provided much of this information.   Seen below is an historic shot sent to me by
                                  Robert Milburn of Mount Barker, SA, showing the aircraft being refueled with a can and a
                                  pump.  It transpires that Robert's (late) father was involved in the surfacing of the Oodnadatta
                                  airport in 1939 and took several photos of aircraft at that time.  Clearly this shot was taken
                                  before that, although whether the venue was, in fact, Oodnadatta is not known,